Have you ever wondered about the different fonts, and typography that are used by the various operating systems, application software, or even in use on the web? For most people, fonts are just something that chosen, and used without much thought beyond the basic "this looks good." There are a lot of different fonts that are out there, and available for use in a wide variety of situations.
According to Fonts & Encodings, the era of ASCII characters is long gone, and industry leaders such as Apple, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle have adopted the Unicode Worldwide Character Standard. But this only solves part of the problem, as a multitude of font standards and tools remain between the numeric character codes and their presentation. Fonts & Encodings attempts to show how those pieces fit together.
Fonts & Encodings is a hefty 1016 pages that divide out into fourteen chapters and seven appendixes, which further break out into four parts. I will segment my review into the four parts.
Part I (chapters 1-5) starts with the topic of encodings, and in particular, Unicode. First, we journey to the time before Unicode, and see the processes that led up to development of Unicode. Then, Unicode is introduced, as well as the underlying concepts upon which it is based. We begin to get more technical as we get into the character properties of Unicode. Here we get a glimpse of the internal workings of the encoding. Then we are shown the process of normalization, the use of bidirectionality; the process of reading right-to-left or left-to-right, and the use of East Asian Scripts. Finally, we finish up with solving how to produce a text encoded in Unicode. This is done in three different ways; by selecting from a table, through the use of a virtual keyboard, and by converting data that exists in other encodings.